Never before, in its 148 years’ history, has Viareggio Carnival been celebrated in late summer and early fall as it will this year in 2021.

The five 2021 dates of the parades of gigantic allegorical floats in papier-mâché on Viareggio seafront promenade are Saturday 18 September, Sunday 26 September, Saturday 2 October, Sunday 3 October and the Closing Parade on Saturday 9 October.

Carnival’s period is January and February, because Carnival traditionally is the time preceding Lent, the 40 days that end on Holy Thursday a few days before Easter Sunday.

But the 2021 Viareggio Carnival dates have been moved due to this year’s earlier lockdown.

The 2021 “special edition”, so to speak, of Carnival of Viareggio has been named a “Universal Carnival”, as it’s dedicated to all the traditions, stories and cultures of Carnival around the world.

Viareggio Carnival float - Barbarians with Michelangelo David head
Viareggio Carnival float mask – Barbarians with Michelangelo’s David’s head

The first parade will take place this coming Saturday 18. At 5.30pm the flag of Burlamacco, Viareggio’s Mask, will be raised. Many, if not all, Italian cities and towns have their own Mask character, the most famous probably being Harlequin for Venice and Pulcinella (Punch) for Naples.

The parade, which will have with live national coverage on Rai Tre, will start at 6pm.

The parade will be attended by the former manager of Italy’s national soccer (football) team, world champion in Germany 2006, Marcello Lippi, who, as it happens, hails from Viareggio.

“A fitting tribute – are the words of the president of the Carnival Foundation, Maria Lina Marcucci – to one of our great fellow citizens, in the year of Italy’s victory at the European Championships, which coincides with the 15th anniversary of the triumph of the Azzurri in Germany”.

After the recent death of Italian star of international fame Raffaella Carrà, her long-time partner Sergio Japino is also expected, on the day when Raffaella Carrà, whose song “Chissà se va” will be the official theme song of Viareggio Carnival 2021, will be remembered.

Last year Viareggio Carnival displayed, among others, a much discussed float of Greta Apocalypse Costume and cosplay as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. You may recall Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, self-proclaimed prophet of catastrophe and of the entire globe’s collective conscience.

This exceptional year, due to some restrictions, the number of people who will be able to attend Viareggio Carnival events will be limited, much lower than the 100,000 and over that could be reached in the past.

Better to hurry up, then.